Philippine Airlines Is Introducing Their Best Business Class Product Yet

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Historically Philippine Airlines doesn’t exactly have a great reputation. Their premium products aren’t competitive, and they’re just now installing flat beds in business class on some of their newly delivered 777s, even though they’ll still have seven seats per row.

Well, Philippine Airlines is doing something interesting on another plane in their fleet, which was previously in a one class configuration. Philippine Airlines has announced that they’ll be installing a new business class and premium economy on eight of their A330s, which are presently in a one cabin configuration.

As it stands, these PAL A330s feature an insane 414 seats in a one cabin configuration, making them one of the densest A330 planes out there. As a point of comparison, WOW Air’s one cabin A330s feature “just” 342 seats.

Well, it seems they’ve had a change of heart as to their strategy, as they’ll be reconfiguring them this year.

PAL will be reconfiguring eight of their A330-300 aircraft with three classes of service, including business class, premium economy, and economy. Once all is said and done, these planes will have 309 seats.

PAL will have 18 Vantage XL seats in business class, each of which will be a fully flat bed with direct aisle access. Even though the airline isn’t using these planes for ultra longhaul flights, they’ll feature by far the best business class product in the fleet. This is the same type of seat you’ll find in business class on Qantas and SAS.


Then PAL will have 24 Zodiac 5810 premium economy seats. They’ll have 38 inches of legroom, 19 inches of width, and a recline of eight inches. They should be roughly similar to domestic first class seats within the U.S., except the center armrest won’t be as wide.


Meanwhile economy will feature 32″ of pitch, and fortunately will feature eight seats per row, while previously they had nine seats per row, which is very tight for an A330.

The planes will also feature audio and video on demand, as well as inflight Wi-Fi.

These planes will be rolled out over a seven month period this year, and will be available to Honolulu starting in June, to Melbourne in July, to Sydney in August, to Singapore in September, to Tokyo Haneda in October, to Tokyo Narita in November, and to Osaka in December. Given that the reconfiguration process hasn’t yet started, that’s still subject to change.

Philippine Airlines’ leadership does seem serious about improving the airline, though their journey to become a “5-star airline” might be a bit of a stretch:

“As we journey on to becoming a 5-star, world – class, full service carrier with a heart, we devote our efforts towards enhancing the total travel experience. Our cabin reconfiguration efforts combined with meticulous seat and IFE selection are in line with our goal to make each and every flight pleasant, comfortable and convenient”, PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista said.

Kudos to PAL on these very nice planned improvements. It’s just a shame that their U.S. routes are operated primarily by 777s, which aren’t particularly competitive.

I’m still hoping to fly with them soon between New York and Vancouver, given the cool fifth freedom route they operate…

Has anyone flown PAL recently? Are they actually improving?

  1. Correction Lucky, the Economy section will now be 2-4-2 eight seats per row, not ‘still nine seats per row.’ This was the original configuration of their old A330s, which have since been retired and replaced by their current high-density A330s. A friend from PAL also confirmed this since she saw the lopa.

  2. I am not a frequent travel however does work with a US travel agency (website) and i just noticed the change of layout on their website, compared to its dull and pretty basic web design before. Didn’t know they have this transition with product offers which is cool. They should invest in business class for long haul flights as for comfort and have their full economy plane on their domestic flight as travel time is only an hour and a half.. not unless it has stopovers.

  3. Philippine Airlines doesn’t need to be competitive on flights USA-Philippines. It’s a bottom of the barrel leisure market. No other airlines fly nonstop. No other airlines are going to fly nonstop. It’s the right product for the market.

  4. I ve been on the domestic A330 dense configuration, it was not pretty at all with full capacity when I was on board. service was very basic and the constant monitoring and announcement over the PA made me really tired and feel like a child. I hate to see how it is for long haul flight but I think it will be the same.

  5. Have own buiness on PAL USA and Vancouver to/from Manila. Great value, food and service makes it a bit of fun. Only downside is the ordinary lounges at each end, particularly Manila.

  6. Something no one caught – Philippine’s current A330 features a three-class configuration, not a one-class configuration. Business class is the dreadful RAM 787 levelled seats, premium economy is essentially extra-legroom nine-abreast economy and economy is nine-abreast.

  7. Correction – you posted the configuration without business class. But that’s still two cabins – premium economy and economy.

  8. re: 5 star status- it’s a long shot but if Garuda could do it (and they had a similar or even worse reputation than PAL a few years ago), crossing fingers that PAL can as well. Let’s hope PALA management is truly serious about bringing back the “glory days” when PAL was among the top carriers and even introduced fully-flat beds in the 80s.

  9. I used to fly with them quite regularly back in the 70s/early 80s: they were ‘cheap and cheerful’ and the best of the Asian carriers other than SQ and CC. Rarely cheap these days and not many will pay a premium to travel with them. Being unaligned does not help.

  10. Perhaps PAL should work on improving their soft product – particularly their service. They aren’t known for being top of the line when it comes to service (which is odd given the reputation Filipinos have as being top providers in the hospitality industry, add that to the overall hospitable nature of the culture), so I’d love to see an improvement on that – which is much less costly than upgrading seats.

  11. Sow how come (according to SeatGuru) Philippines’ a330’s feature 9 across seating as opposed to WOW Air’s 8 but the seats are still an inch wider (18 vs 17 inches)? Singapore Airlines has 8 across seating in their a330’s and those seats are reported at 19 inches wide. Do the airlines have differing aisle widths or is SeatGuru not a very reliable source? I’ve noticed many airlines having different seat widths with the same plane (and the same number of seats per row) and sometimes even different seat widths, depending on the configuration, on the same plane on the same airline!

  12. I stopped flying PAL because of the service in Business Class has declined. The VP of in flight services should be terminated and PAL should hire someone from Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific who are the premier in the in flight services in Asia. We started flying PAL in First Class 18 years ago. The service was excellent from the warmth of the Philippines. When PAL stopped FC service and only had BC, that was a good decision, the excellent service continued. I noticed a decline in the in flight service after the new management took over and went on an economic binge. We noticed in the food menu decline: Use to have 3-4 appetizers, but for the past 3-4 years only 1 or 2 were offered. My last flight on PAL was last Sept 2016. I normally never eat dinner flying from SFO to MNL, but I like the variety of appetizers, The menu offered only two appetizers. I told the FA I don’t want dinner but I will have both of the appetizers. The flight attendant said, sorry sir, but that is not Allowed. I spoke to the flight purser and she gave her permission for me to have both appetizers. That was my last flight on PAL. I have accumulated almost 800,000 miles flying PAL for the past 18 years. I will fly them one more time to use up my accumulated miles and will NEVER fly them again. My name is Leo O Zakharoff. My PAL MILES is: 008-976-984. I am married to a wonderful Filipina. We live in Porac Pampanga and Santa Rosa, California. I wanted to write the President of PAL, but NO ONE will give me the address where to write. I simply gave us….

  13. My wife and I have been flying PAL since 1999, flying in First Class and later when PAL introduced all Business Class. When we started flying, the in-flight service was very good, representing the warmth of the Philippines. Somewhere in the 2011 or so, I noticed changes with PAL when the new CEO took over. I heard there were management problems with PAL in Manila. I fly PAL about 2-3 times a year. I saw little changes, first in the food service, the little things, like the Appetizers before, had a selection of 4 or more, but for the last few flights, only 2 appetizers were offered. I normally, do not eat dinner when flying SFO to MNL. I only have the appetizers, a glass of wine and cheese. My last flight, I asked the Stewardess, I would like to have both appetizers because I don’t want to eat dinner. The stewards said NO. It isn’t allowed. I called the Chief Purser and she reluctantly gave me both appetizers. The Philippine hospitality has fallen to a new level of in-adequacy.

    I met Lucio C. Tan on one of the flights to Manila. We were seat mates. We had a nice conversation and it was a pleasure to have met him. He gave me his cell number and said to call him when in Manila.

    I use to work for the airlines. I was stationed Hong Kong as a Cargo Sales Manager Asia. I can tell the difference from excellent service, good service and adequate service. Let me be honest, flying on PAL, I am sorry to say this, the service has deteriorated and simply became adequate. The price of Business Class has been going up, up and UP, to the point from $2800 to $3500 and $4500. I reluctantly paid $3500 BC and for what, adequate service?

    We STOPPED flying PAL because of inferior service and rising Business Class fares. My last flight on PAL was last September 2016. I have accumulated over 800,000 PAL miles flying for the past 17 years. I fly from SFO to MNL. The ticket counter in SFO provides excellent service and the Station Manager, Norman DS’Souza, really is an excellent manager that goes out of his way to be helpful. I was a loyal customer flying on PAL. Ticket counter in SF, they know my wife and me. Whenever we fly, the people go out of their way to be helpful, and I really appreciate that.

    For the first time, my wife flew Asiana Airlines from SFO to Clark last year. There are plus and minus flying on Asiana Airlines as well, but the in-flight service is better than PAL’s. My wife is leaving for PI tomorrow, 2/19, flying Cathay Pacific, via Hong Kong to Clark. I will fly Asiana, for the firs time, in BC end of Feb. On my last flight on PAL, returning to SFO, I went up to the ticket counter and asked if I can have the name of the CEO and the address so I can write a letter. Norm wasn’t there and I spoke with his assistant, I don’t remember her name. The young lady told me she will email the name of the CEO and the address….never heard from her. I also spoke to the Chief Purser on my flight, and asked the name of the CEO and the address. The Purser told she didn’t have this information. I suspect the PAL employees are not allowed to give out any information if one has a complaint.

    We will never fly PAL again. I apologize for being so negative, but I really liked flying PAL, because of direct service to Manila and besides that, I am married to a wonderful Filipina. In my opinion, the best in-flight service is Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. PAL has fallen to Adequate service and the Warmth of the Philippines is no more, in my opinion.

    I would terminate the VP of in-flight services and hire someone from Cathay Pacific. The CEO is only concerned with the bottom line and has no clue how the passengers feel flying on PAL. Too bad, the First Airline in Asia has fallen to adequate service and the airline industry knows PAL’S services are struggling….

    Leo O Zakharoff., Santa Rosa, California and Porac, Pampanga….

  14. They have started rolling this out already this June 2017

    There were 2 A333’s configurations before, one tri-class and another dual-class 414 all economy, theyre getting rid of those 414 configurations and changing it to this new 309 configuration to offer a good hard product in the region. First one out is MNL-HNL

    I agree the soft product is not the same as SQ, but price wise PR may be worth it

    See for more details

  15. Re the safety warning video…I found it very original and conveyed the information in a funny and informative way. The “emergency landing” presenter was a real babae. The only strange thing was that the video was spoken in English and subtittled in English…wouldn’t it make more sense to subtitle in Tagalog…or actually speak in Tagalog and sub in English?

  16. I just flew the previous version of PAL a330 and it was good value for money as well. Less than $800 DXB-MNL return for a full flat bed is just a bit more expensive than economy on some of the big airlines. Curious to try the latest version to see the improvements 🙂

    You can see my video review of the previous version of Philippine Airlines Business Class a330 here:

  17. I recently flown with Tri-Class A330 on business class from Manila-Tokyo Narita (see my review: Mabuhay Lounge at NAIA T2 is pretty ordinary lounge, not as great as other lounges like in SG, HK etc. Flights to Tokyo is a short 4hrs but on business class it was good enough. There’s alot to be improved interms of service and inflight experience, if they really serious to achieve atleast 4stars status. No business class amenity kit given during my flight, while other Asian carriers provide even for a short 1.5hrs flight. Simple things like salt/pepper and olive oil, were not provided. champagne options are very limited. There’s only 1 toilet on business class, no mode lighting. IFE, map is not 3D interactive like what they have in their latest B777. Business class seats are comfortable with massage function and adjustable firmness. Premium Economy has 2-3-2 seating, Economy has 2-4-2, Business has 1-2-. Flights to Japan normally half full while Middle East flights are generally full. They could have used this Tri-class version to high density flights to ME, even if majority of passengers are OFW and even if they increase airfare, they could fill all seats on this route. I just dont know how PAL plan and designate specific type of aircraft to certain routes.

    Korean has surpassed PAL. Why?
    The first airline in Asia, Philippine Airlines, has had a wonderful reputation of in-flight service, for many years, until new management took over and started tinkering with the bottom line, instead of PAL’S reputation, that has always been: “from the warmth of the Philippines…”

    Let me address one more issue about PAL’S new management, about 6-7-8 years ago,
    under the new leadership of the new CEO, PAL wanted to retire or FIRE all female in-flight attendance after the age of 40. Well, from what I heard, there was a huge outcry of this discrimination. The irresponsible CEO back down. Can you imagine what he wanted to DO?
    Unbelievable. I now understand the decline in PAL’S in-flight services. That hard nosed CEO should have been fired by the Board of Directors. Not sure what happened to him, maybe he is now, cleaning the streets of Manila…

  19. I have flown PAL for 15 years. The last five years in business class. If you have any problem with the airline outside of the plane. You are screwed. They will not help or bend the rules. They are the worse. If that airline was based in the United States. They would be bankrupt.
    I would rate the service in the plane for economy and business as average.
    The new 777 delivered in December are not lay flat. I just flew in January. Had to use a pillow in the middle in the dip. Plus they still have the middle seat in business class in the new plane.
    I am up to around 850,000. I would not fly them but they are the only airline that fly’s non-stop from LAX.

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